Holt adoption baby

sell by 12/19/66

What would Harry Holt Do?

with one comment

Here is the awesome spoken word, by permission of the author, poet Christy Namee Ericksen.

Please support the work of Christy and other poets of color by purchasing their collective CD, of which this poem is part of. You can purchase it here.

(You can listen to her spoken word by following the link below which takes you to another page)

What would Harry Holt do?

(or, you can try wordpress’s audio player below so you can read along, but it takes a year to load)

And here’s my transcription:

What Would Harry Holt Do?

Everyone knows what Harry Holt would do:

as a businessman

who wanted to be a hero,

as a father

who wanted more;

as a Christian

with connections.

 

Well I want to know:

What would Harry Holt do

if he knew about all the good Korean adoptee Christians

that are hooking up all over this town?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if Buddhist black people started to adopt in thousands?

Or if suburban white babies were being left at Lunds & Byerlies?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if all the adoptees knew a song,

and the song was, “How much is that baby in the window?”

and at night we could look through our story on the bookshelf —

see the letters, see the bills; see how much it cost our parents

to buy us.

 

What would Harry Holt do?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if Korea had to shut down general operations in the summer,

just to handle the influx of adoptees —

the migration of Koreans from all these continents —

back to the land they were taken from:

looking for their roots, looking for their mothers; looking for their answers?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if our birth-mothers wanted to write us a letter,

but they didn’t know what Korean name the orphanage gave us,

or they didn’t know how to spell the American name they heard about,

or they didn’t know how to write Roman letters?

How would they start?

How would he start to tell them?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if all the Korean mothers started to cry one night,

beginning at sunset and ending at sunrise,

in the corner of each of their homes,

in the quiet of each of their secrets,

under the floors of the floors of the floors of their stories?

And their tears were so many

that they began to flow into the streets

of Seoul, of Busan, of Daegu.

And the country woke up to a new river

that everyone saw,

but no one talked about;

that sparkled like wishing stars

but filled everyone with sadness.

What would Harry Holt do?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if a Korean mother

and a Korean daughter

could only understand each other

if a white woman missionary from Utah translated?

 

What would Harry Holt do

when the only thing adoptees can really call their own from Korea

is their Korean name,

tattoo’d on their bodies somewhere,

and they can’t even read it?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if Korea made a new reality t.v. show,

still about Korean adoptee reunions,

but this time all the adoptees

are reunited — with him?

 

What would Harry Holt do

with the stress of 200,000 questions?

 

What would Harry Holt do

with the results of a customer service survey?

 

What would Harry Holt do

if we started to write our own research?

 

What would Harry Holt do

with all the prayers

young adoptees whisper

to Harry Holt’s God?

With all the wishes burnt on birthday candles,

all the letters sent to Santa

asking, requesting, begging for

whiter skin or bigger eyes or less flat face or

to be Megan Nelson or Camile Jarvis or

Heidi Farrington, who’s a little chubby

but everyone still likes her.

That’d be all right.

 

What would Harry Holt do

about love?

When money turns to shame

and an Iowa man beats his four Korean adopted children to death

with a baseball bat.

 

What would Harry Holt do

about love?

When things change

and a child loses their shine,

when a Dutch couple visits Korea,

picks up a daughter,

and returns her to the orphanage seven years later.

 

What would Harry Holt do

about love?

When adoptees are saving their allowance

for surgery to cut a fold in their eyelids,

when they’re only dating color-blind white men

who have a thing for Asians;

when they’re holding their own

grown

mother

in their arms,

as she breaks?

 

What would Harry Holt do

about love?

When their families

don’t want to hear about it anymore?

Don’t want to hear about it anymore.

You were never our Korean child,

you were just our child.

 

What would Harry Holt do then?

 

And what would Harry Holt do now?

 

To save us?

 


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Written by girl4708

December 15, 2010 at 3:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. wow, this one really stir things up:) so good written.

    kimchi68

    May 11, 2012 at 7:40 pm


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